Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Baseball is a merciless game. There is no place to hide on the wide open diamond. Errors of skill and judgment on the field are, as a matter of physics, instantly exploited.

The most dramatic moment in baseball, for me, is the home run. A pitcher committs an error of judgment, decides to challenge the wrong batter at the wrong time, and he is punished. Or, the pitcher committs an error in skill. He leaves a ball up and over the plate, the batter seizes the moment, and reacts. The bat whips around, crushes the ball, and the failure of the pitcher is all too evident. There is no gray area, no room for debate. There is no consoling a defeated pitcher. He must move on, alone, though he takes responsibility for the whole team.

You cannot fault the batter. He is presented with an opportunity and he takes advantage. There is no more reason than that. He does what he is trained to do--to bash the ball wholeheartedly. The joy comes not from making the pitcher look bad, but from completing the physical act which he has practiced countless times. The ball is up, it is over, it is struck.

Management is another level to the game. There, too, the moves are open to public scrutiny. But with management, there is rarely the instantaneous reaction that there is with pitching and hitting. For example, in the summer, John Olerud was let go by the Seattle Mariners. Many claimed this was heartless, stupid, without class. Tonight, John Olerud, one of the nicest, most accomplished, least appreciated first basemen in the game, hit a home run against Boston to score two runs for the New York Yankees. This is not about the Yankees. Personally, I don't like them. But I do like Olerud, and I was disappointed at how he was treated by the Mariners this summer. So, congratulations to you, John Olerud, I hope you win another ring, even if it is in Yankee pinstripe.


Blogger SuperBiff said...

The second paragraph is a great metaphor for the beauty that is Capitalism.. The overwhelming majority of the successful seek not to oppress or exploit, but they capitalize on the opportunities provided to them.

October 14, 2004 at 11:54 AM  

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